After a year in which many of us have experienced isolation, there has never been a more significant time to focus on staying connected with our friends and families as we head into the Christmas period. However, it is also important to note that, unfortunately, there is one group that has been affected more so than others: our elderly.
Here at The Portland Nursing home, we have been working very hard throughout this difficult year to keep our residents happy, motivated and connected to their loved ones using innovative technology and creative ways.
If you have elderly or vulnerable relatives that are in isolation, they don’t have to feel alone during this period. We have put together a few key tips on how we have stayed connected and busy during the Coronavirus pandemic. With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, you could use these ideas to help you celebrate with your loved ones as best as you can this year:
Writing letters to your loved one
There is no better way to show someone you care about them, than writing them a handwritten letter. You can always send an email to your relatives within a matter of seconds but isn’t it much sweeter and memorable to send a good old-fashioned letter to let them know you are thinking of them. Equally, handmade cards take the sentimental value to another level or two – you don’t have to be amazing at arts and crafts to produce a memorable card, it’s the thought that counts!
We have really enjoyed reading and receiving letters and cards of encouragement from friends and family throughout the last year, and it has helped brighten our resident’s spirits during this difficult time.
Keeping in touch through video calls
Thanks to the power of technology, we are better able to stay connected with each other remotely. One of the best examples of this is through video calling. There are many popular platforms to do this, such as Skype or Zoom where you can connect with your relatives on a visual level – which sometimes is better than simply giving them a call on the phone.
At Portland Nursing Home, we have utilised technology to enable our residents to speak to their loved ones regularly. Enabling our residents to see a loved one virtually has had huge beneficial effects to our residents mental and emotional wellbeing, and we are so proud to be able make this part of our daily schedule.
Joining a pen pal scheme
There has never been a better time to have a pen pal, it’s an opportunity to get personal again – It really makes you feel connected to another person in a way that talking on the phone, texting, video calling, or even seeing them in person can’t achieve! It also proves to be a really fun and exciting activity when writing and reading letters from your pen pal.
This year, Portland Nursing home were proud to join Love For Our Elders and we have had a wonderful time receiving letters from our pen pals across the pond in the USA.
We have also been keeping our residents connected with young people during the coronavirus pandemic, by joining the YOPEY befriender letter-writing scheme.
YOPEY, the young people of the year charity, traditionally runs befriending schemes where young people visit care homes but had to put these on hold during the coronavirus crisis. However, despite visits stopping during lockdown, the charity and its young volunteers wanted to continue to support elderly care home residents at a time when they needed it the most, so decided to start a letter-writing scheme.
Creating and maintaining social connections with the younger generation is key to supporting the mental wellbeing of our residents and in turn, helps them to age well!
Care packages and gifts
Sending your loved one a care package, or a thoughtful gift, is a great way to show that they are in your thoughts. You can personalise this package in many different ways. For example, you could go for a treat package with chocolate, marshmallows and sweets. Again, it is the thought that counts, and it will be greatly appreciated by your elderly loved ones. When gathering items to include in your package or gift, sticking with local retailers and independent businesses, who are feeling the effects of lockdown more than most, is a great way to help your community.
At Portland Nursing Home during lockdown, we have really loved receiving some beautiful care packages and gifts from family and friends. We also celebrated Mother’s Day in the home during March and received some beautiful gifts and flowers. Our ladies had a wonderful day celebrating!
Encouraging your loved ones to join initiatives to support the community during difficult times like this can be a great morale boost. For example, Clap for Carers proved to be so powerful, where people of all ages joined in to support the NHS where they could.
Here at Portland, we have joined in with Vamos Theatre’s ‘The Wednesday Wave’; a campaign to tackle pandemic loneliness and isolation. Every Wednesday, from mid-October until mid-December we have been encouraging the community to join us for a wave at the window!
Anyone and everyone have been encouraged to wave along, wherever they see ‘The Wednesday Wave’ poster, or a hand drawing displayed, and we believe this has really connected us as a Nursing Home with the public.
We have also enjoyed contributing to the Cheerful Window campaign, where we created rainbows which we placed in our windows! With everyone facing such troubling times during the pandemic, this brought cheer within the home, and we hope it brought cheer to those who saw it.
Situated in Buxton, Portland Nursing Home provides specialist nursing care for a range of needs, creating a safe and supportive environment in which residents can meet and form close friendships.
If you are interested in finding out more about Portland Nursing Home, our friendly team would be happy to talk to you via 01298 23040 or if you fill out our contact form a member of our team will get in touch.